Everton players and fans will be fired up by points penalty, asserts Sean Dyche

Sean Dyche is confident Everton’s season will not be derailed by their 10-point penalty for breaching Premier League financial rules but has warned his players that they cannot rely on the club’s appeal to rescue them from another relegation battle.

The Everton manager said he was shocked and aggrieved by an independent commission’s decision to impose the biggest sporting sanction in Premier League history for a £19.5m overspend in 2021-22. Dyche was ill while on holiday in Dubai when informed of the punishment by Everton’s director of football, Kevin Thelwell. He described the deduction as both disproportionate and unjust.

Related: Erik ten Hag urges Manchester United to stand firm against ‘mad’ Everton

Dyche addressed the first-team squad at Everton’s Finch Farm training ground on Friday morning, once they had all returned from international duty. Players reacted to last Friday’s news by sharing defiant messages on their WhatsApp group. After a run of six wins in nine games in all competitions, that had lifted Everton to 14th in the table prior to being plunged back to 19th, their resolve to maintain momentum and haul the club out of danger was relayed to the manager at Friday’s meeting.

“The feeling was very positive in the sense of building on the mentality that’s been there lately,” said Dyche. “We all spoke about that, saying this hasn’t changed it and it’s building regardless of this current situation. The players are clear-minded. They have their WhatsApp group and when the news broke they put it straight on there: ‘Right lads, just another challenge, this is how we take it on’. The group is taking ownership and that’s a powerful thing.

“I got from them the sense that: ‘What we’re building, we don’t let anything disrupt that and we don’t let anything get in the way’. You can’t guarantee it’s made a difference [to players’ resolve] yet because we haven’t played any games. All I know is that the players know what we’re doing. They’ve referenced that to me probably for the last six weeks.”

Everton’s appeal against the 10-point deduction will be heard by a different three-person panel before the end of the season. Dyche, however, wants his team to forget about the appeal and accept the reality of being joint-bottom of the Premier League on four points. That outlook, he believes, will help Everton focus on hauling themselves out of the relegation zone.

On the prospect of survival, Dyche said: “I’ve never lacked confidence in my own ability, in my staff’s ability or the players’ ability. I’ve never lacked confidence since I’ve been here and, let’s face it, I’ve had some pretty tough times. But it’s not just about confidence. You’ve got to win games, and this is just another big challenge.

“It is currently a momentary thing because we don’t know what the appeal brings, we don’t know how that changes things again. But until that period, and I have made it clear to the players, be under no illusions because there are no guarantees things will change so we have to commit to what’s going on now as if that is the reality. It might be changed but, until it’s changed, we have to commit to this reality. There are no guarantees that what goes before guarantees what comes next. We have to keep pushing like we have been doing because we have lost 10 points and we have to get them back as quick as we can.”

Everton fans have a series of protests against the Premier League planned for Sunday’s home game against Manchester United, when a win could possibly lift Dyche’s team out of the bottom three. After several years of division at Goodison Park, certainly in terms of the fanbase and the club’s hierarchy, the punishment has created a collective siege mentality that Dyche wants his team to utilise.

He said: “I couldn’t wait [for Sunday] anyway because obviously we are on a good run of form – forget about all this. But I will be amazed if the Evertonians are not right on song. I’ll be very surprised if they are not, knowing what I do. I don’t know them yet but I am learning about Evertonians and how they commit to the club and the cause. I’m getting deeper in my knowledge of that and I’ll be very surprised if they are not right there with us. It doesn’t guarantee you’ll win but it gives you a better chance when they are right behind the players going: ‘Come on then, let’s take it on again’.

“I sense that the underbelly, the fans with the depth of knowledge about Everton who remember the hard-fought years and what it has been built upon – not every Evertonian just knows moneyed years – they remember when they had to fight and work to build a team and a mentality. I think they can sense it again. That’s what I think. I think they sense we are getting back to an earthiness, a determined Everton group of players who will really have a go.”

Dyche declined to comment on the implications of Everton’s punishment for Manchester City, who have been charged with 115 financial breaches by the Premier League, and deny any wrongdoing, and Chelsea, who are also under investigation by the football authorities.